What is a hypernym for the adjectives which describe various body parts or systems? For example:

  • eyes : ocular
  • lungs : pulmonary
  • ears : aural

How would I best phrase asking for such words, for example, if I wanted to know the equivalent word for the skin? (just an example, please don't respond with "cutaneous").

Example sentence:

Adjectives to describe body parts, for example pulmonary and aural, can all be referred to as [hypernym].


2 Answers 2


All of the following suggestions can be used to complete the sentence: What is (are) the _____ term(s) for words associated with [body part]?

Anatomic (@mahmudkoya)


  • Etymology: From Greek histos "warp, web," literally "anything set upright," from histasthai "to stand,"
  • Generally limited to microscopic anatomy.

Somatic (@NigelJ)

  • Etymology: From Greek, somatikos.
  • As the OP notes in a comment, somatic may itself be considered an answer to the question: What is the somatic term for words related to the body? Depending on what one is specifically referring to, other acceptable answers may include corpus, corpse, and corpuscle.
  1. of the body; bodily; physical.

  2. Anatomy, Zoology. pertaining to the body wall of an animal.

  3. Cell Biology. pertaining to or affecting the somatic cells, as distinguished from the germ cells.


  • What is the medical term for words associated with the heart?   Cardiac.


  • What is the scientific term for words associated with the brain?   Neural.


  • What is the Greek term for words associated with fingers?   Dactyl.


  • What are the Latin terms for words associated with fingers?   Phalanges or Digits.

Etymological Note

Most of the terms that answer the secondary question, come from Latin or Greek. Sometimes, a word of Latin origin was adopted into English via another language, such as French. Sometimes, a Latin word was itself derived from Greek. Sometimes there are multiple words derived from multiple sources to refer to the same substance. For instance, renal comes from Latin, while nephron comes from Greek, but it's a mystery where kidney comes from (perhaps a food item). Which should be used depends on regional preferences.


"Adjectives to describe body parts, for example pulmonary and aural, can all be referred to as organic adjectives."

organic (ODOL)

3 Physiology
Relating to a bodily organ or organs. 3.1 Medicine (of a disease) affecting the structure of an organ.

Note however, that while organic has the precise meaning of "related to organ(s) of the body," that's just one of the myriad senses of the word extensively used not only in anatomy, but variously in chemistry and other sciences.

I for myself would adopt one of the two techniques:
"Adjectives to describe body parts, for example pulmonary and aural, can all be referred to as "organic" adjectives." -- scare quotes to signify "let's call it thus".

Or preferably and simply,
"Organic adjectives that describe body parts, for example pulmonary and aural." -- take it for granted that adjectives relating to organs are to be referred to thus, of course, so it needs no explanation.

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